AN: This is just a little side project I'm starting to get a bit more practise with longer prose and will likely run under ten chapters. Feedback is greatly appreciated.
Edit: Went back and changed the title and summary to what I first planned it to be, and have remembered that my split-second choices usually are not good ones. The new title comes from a William Faulkner quote.
The Holmes family of Oxfordshire was a strange institution long before one of its progeny graced the pages of "The Strand" and made it famous. The story, true or not, goes that a long way back when the family first settled, a Holmes wife bore a set of twin boys she could not birth and they were delivered by caesarean section, crude enough at the time to kill the woman. Almost immediately, the debate arose as to which boy was the heir; the one pulled from the womb through the incision first or the one who had been in the birth canal and would have been born first naturally.
The new father and widower pondered for fifteen years, until the day of his death, over the answer. On his sickbed, he gave his answer. He drew on the myth of Oedipus, the Greek king, and his two sons that were to share the throne of Thebes. He took into account how their story ended in ruin, however, and instead of the title being exchanged by the year, one son would rule for his time, and when he died his eldest nephew would take the title.
The man, pleased with himself, passed on. He neglected to mention who was to be the first heir. After a quick duel on the front lawn, the brother pulled first from the womb proved himself to have the quickest reflexes and therefore was most fit to manage his family's land. His half-brother's nephew would inherit the title without so much action.
Sherrinford Holmes was the brother of a country squire and a tall, broad man, bitter at losing the title of squire to his generation and family law, who saw no harm in clipping his two sons over the ear when they displeased him or slapping his sole daughter when she did similarly. His daughter's sole triumph in her short life would be that she died of tuberculosis at the age of twelve rather than by the hand of her father or future husband.
His oldest son was named Mycroft Sigerson (although he went by Sigerson, a name instilled from an Irish poet by a weak mother) and he would have been boxed more if he did not have a way of making himself disappear. His father long suspected him of being at least a man curious of the act of sodomy based on the fact that he was highly diligent in his studies, read copious amounts of poetry, and his sketches and paintings could all but leap from the page into life.
His second, Trafford, was considered by Sherrinford to be a second chance. The first son was often sickly and might not live, and he was determined to not make the same mistakes again. Being solidly built like his father, he lacked his brother's stealth and was beaten so much in his early years that he began to resemble his father not only in appearance but in mindset.
Sigerson Holmes survived to adulthood, however, and his father had died of a coronary infraction three years before his uncle had passed on peacefully. He had two sons himself, Mycroft Sigerson the Second (he had no attachment to the Irish poet and thus went by his first name), and seven years later Sherlock Émile, his middle name coming from his mother's famous uncle.
Trafford Holmes had two children as well. His son was born a year before the second Mycroft Sigerson and was christened Sherrinford for his grandfather. His daughter Adelaide was born in another five years. Trafford nor his wife were inventive enough for middle names. Trafford would die when his son was thirteen. His wife three years dead, only his daughter mourned him. He had, after all, learned fatherhood at the heel of his own father. Sigerson and his wife Violet took the two children into their own home. Trafford's murder was only briefly investigated.